Wife of Navy Nuclear Engineer Pleads Guilty in Submarine Spy Case

I’m not sure which of these is the more egregious from a “mindless stupidity” point of view, the forged vaccine cards or the spy case? I guess I’d have to go the latter because the husband not only masterminded the scheme, but dragged his wife in with him! However, both offer stark evidence of how far some of us are from understanding  the natural laws of the nature and life, most importantly, “The Law of Cause & Effect!” 

All of nature operates by it including humans! We are part of nature, not separate from it.

Why, in spite of all the evidence that we see of people trying to get away with one thing or another only to be caught, do people go on displaying such astonishing misunderstanding of how life works 

As the King said to Anna, “Its a puzzlement!”


Wife of Navy Nuclear Engineer Pleads Guilty in Submarine Spy Case

Diana Toebbe, a high school teacher, acknowledged her part in an effort to try to sell nuclear reactor secrets her husband had taken from the Navy.

The plea agreement, entered at federal court in Martinsburg, W.Va., spares the government from a trial that could have risked exposing the foreign country involved in the plot — which officials have worked hard to keep secret.
Credit…Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The wife of a Navy nuclear engineer pleaded guilty on Friday to taking part in a conspiracy to sell submarine secrets to a foreign country, bringing to a close an espionage case that mixed spycraft and politics with the travails of a suburban family.

Four days after her husband, Jonathan Toebbe, pleaded guilty in the case under a deal with the government, Diana Toebbe, a high school teacher in Annapolis, Md., acknowledged her part in a scheme to sell nuclear reactor secrets her husband had taken from the Navy, and will face a sentence of not more than three years, according to the terms of her agreement with the government. Her plea was entered during a hearing at a federal courthouse in Martinsburg.

In April 2020, the couple wrote to an undisclosed foreign government, which turned over the letter to the F.B.I. Investigators then set up a series of dead drops to ensnare Ms. Toebbe and Mr. Toebbe; he faces 12 to 17-and-a-half years in prison under the terms of his plea.

In the court proceeding Friday, prosecutors outlined how Ms. Toebbe served as a lookout while her husband deposited information in a dead drop set up by the F.B.I. Ms. Toebbe said she “knowingly and voluntarily joined a conspiracy with my husband, Jonathan Toebbe,” to attempt to sell government secrets to a foreign nation.

Ms. Toebbe appeared in court with short, graying hair that was neatly parted and wearing an orange prison uniform. She kept a white surgical mask on throughout the hearing. Chained at the wrist and ankles, Ms. Toebbe sat very still throughout the proceeding, responding sharply to questions from the magistrate judge. Her voice grew softer as she read her statement admitting how she had aided her husband.

While U.S. Attorney Jarod J. Douglas read the terms of her plea deal, Ms. Toebbe appeared to close her eyes or look down for an extended period of time, prompting her lawyer to tap her shoulder. She nodded to him in response.

Neither Ms. Toebbe’s husband nor her children were present at the hearing, and it did not appear that any family members were there to hear the guilty plea.

The couple’s plea deals will spare the government from a trial that could have risked exposing the foreign country involved in the plot — which officials have worked hard to keep secret. It might also have risked making public some of the material that the couple intended to provide to the foreign government.

Mr. Toebbe worked in the Washington Navy Yard, developing nuclear reactors for American submarines. While he had access to some of the nation’s most highly protected secrets, the exact nature of the material he tried to sell in exchange for a kind of cryptocurrency has not been revealed by the government.


Ms. Toebbe and her husband, Jonathan.
Credit…West Virginia Regional Jail, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Former students and colleagues at Annapolis’s elite Key School described Ms. Toebbe as increasingly frustrated with American politics and former President Donald J. Trump.

She also complained about her pay at the school. Her husband made a good government salary as a highly educated nuclear engineer, $153,737 a year. Ms. Toebbe had even stronger academic credentials, holding a Ph.D. from Emory University, but she earned less than some of her male colleagues, a source of friction she would express in front of her classes, according to former students.

And, people briefed on the investigation said, they thought the couple’s motivation was financial.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, Ms. Toebbe could face large fines and restitution to the government, although the government should not be able to take her house from her.

In an earlier court hearing over her detention, the government read from encrypted text messages between the couple that prosecutors said showed Ms. Toebbe’s alienation from the United States. The defense countered that Ms. Toebbe’s frustration with Mr. Trump was hardly treasonous and was in fact something many Americans shared.

The Toebbes have two school-aged children, who until the arrest of their parents, attended the school where their mother taught.

Some of the text messages revealed in court and discussions with people briefed on the case portrayed Ms. Toebbe as either an equal partner in the conspiracy or the person driving the plot forward.

But in Friday’s court hearing, Ms. Toebbe only acknowledged participating in the plan to try and sell secrets in the summer of 2021, when her husband was arranging with an undercover F.B.I. agent to deposit material in various dead drop sites. Prosecutors had video evidence of Ms. Toebbe serving as a lookout as Mr. Toebbe placed a memory card inside a peanut butter sandwich and left it for the undercover agent.

From the beginning of court proceeding, Mr. Toebbe positioned himself to take as much of the responsibility as he could — presumably an attempt to reduce the prison time his wife would serve. In jailhouse phone calls taped by the government, Mr. Toebbe told relatives his wife was innocent. And in his plea deal, Mr. Toebbe said it was he who wrote the letter to the foreign country and interacted with the undercover F.B.I. officer.

While he implicated her in the conspiracy, all he admitted was that she served as a lookout, what some outside observers said was the bare minimum, given that the F.B.I. had video of the couple at the dead drops they set up.

In the government’s view, since Mr. Toebbe held the security clearance and stole the material from the Navy, it was he who was the more guilty party.

While all the proceedings in the case, including Friday’s, have been overseen by Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble, the final sentencing of Ms. Toebbe will be conducted by Gina M. Groh, the district’s chief judge.

Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews
Buy What Goes Around at Amazon

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Wife of Navy Nuclear Engineer Pleads Guilty in Submarine Spy Case

Wife of Navy Nuclear Engineer Pleads Guilty in Submarine Spy Case

Here’s a head scratcher that I’m of two minds about as it relates to the subject in question, though either way it is a great, multiple illustration of “Cause & Effect” in action. On the one hand it is somewhat poetic that Jeff Zucker would have to fire Chris Cuomo for the “brother Andrew” matter, while he himself was hiding his own “peccadillo,” only to have that indiscretion revealed and have to “walk the plank” himself!

However, a rule is a rule is a rule and guess what? Yup! “What Goes Around Comes Around!”

One nuance of the situation for Jeff Zucker, was whether the fact that he was carrying around his own secret may be why he didn’t act more decisively on the Cuomo situation? Not to imply that it means he deserved the firing squad if it was true. But he had signed on to follow the rules and lead by example, which he was abusing at the same time that Chris was understating his role to help Andrew. But still, did he equivocate on Cuomo because in his own mind it seemed hypocritical? In the end, it is a small matter but interesting to contemplate nonetheless.

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward


For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.